Bouncing Back

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Alan Partridge - Bouncing BackIf the memories of losing at home to Preston last week have had you driving up to Dundee in your bare feet and developing an unhealthy obsession with Toblerone, then it is time for you to stop and to bounce back. A prominent media personality from Norfolk managed it – inspiration enough for us all to emerge from the claustrophobic darkness and back into the light. Somewhat paradoxically by going to Sheffield.

Look at the positives: We now have the third best slot in League One (27th in the Football League, 47th in all England); we have a military-based quiz show on cable television called Skirmish, and we’ve got Mark Roberts. Only one of those three facts is not true, and was it not Meat Loaf who once said that Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad. But he also said he would do anything for love, but not *that*… paraphrased, of course.

On the matter of two out of three, therein lies our unbeaten stats against the Blades. The one loss coming in the game that mattered at the end of the season, but it didn’t do them any good to win it because they’re up against us again. Doesn’t seem like the pitch invasion was worth it. And after Danny Wilson picked up the Manager of the Month award for October, you can now feel your fingers tingle.

We would not be particularly surprised if there were a few changes made to the team that starts at Bramall Lane (compared with last week, duh!). Is there a case for Andy Iro or Lee Hills to come in? What about Luke Freeman? We say yes to all three, even if FIFA 13 is not currently allowing you to use Andy Iro. Or even acknowledge his existence. Pat Agyemang to lead the line too. Crystal ball stuff as ever.

What we can’t give you is the final score. All we want to be able to say by 5pm tomorrow is “lovely stuff” – though not our words folks, the words of Shakin’ Stevens…

FIFA13 Verdict:
It was a bright start by the hosts, as you might expect. Boro’ returned to a 4-2-3-1 set-up at Bramall Lane and struggled to get the ball early on. However, the Blades suddenly took the foot off the gas after about 25 minutes and the visitors carved out some good chances; four clear-cut perhaps, but all wasted. Sheffield United grew in strength once again, but it was a goalless first-half in the end.

Lee Hills and Luke Freeman showed promise on the left flank, and it paid dividends within 10 minutes of the restart; Hills playing in Akins on the edge of the box to rifle home. It had a stirring effect on the hosts, but no obvious chances were created. Risser and Shroot made their entrances, but not before Tansey made it two with a great bit of individuality to cut in from wide right and score.

Haber replaced Agyemang on 73 minutes and both he and Shroot had chances to wrap the game up as the home defence sprung leaks all over the shop. But it wasn’t until additional time until Luke Freeman made it three and finished a devastating counter-attack. Not this time would Boro’ be surrendering a two-goal advantage. But surprised? We certainly were – Danny Wilson has some harsh words to impart.

FT: Sheffield United 0-3 Stevenage (Akins 52′, Tansey 69′, Freeman 90′)

Bookies’ Verdict:
It will come as no great surprise to anyone except the most upbeat and positive of you that it is Sheffield United’s game to lose in the eyes of the bookies. Even the draw is regarded as a more likely prospect than an away victory; we’re 26/7 at Pinnacle, who are also best for a draw at 29/11. Lumping on a home win won’t get you much in return; Coral’s 10/11 is seen as one of the best if you’re so inclined.

When we saw that Betvictor are offering odds on Tony Hayers (deceased, fictional) for the role of BBC DG, we learned to take First Goalscorer lists with a pinch of salt. For example, Dani Lopez is 8/1 with BetFred. We wonder how a cheeky punt on Lucas Akins at 9s would go down, if being serious. Stevenage to win 2-1 is 14s with Bet365 and another 2-2 is 18s at Blue Square Luton Town.

Last Season:
Sheffield United 2-2 Stevenage (League One, 2011/2)
Sheffield United 1-0 Stevenage (League One Playoffs, 2011/2)

Team Tarot (4-2-3-1):
Alan Partridge ShrugsArnold
Gray
Roberts
Iro
Hills
Tansey
Grant
Akins
Morais
Freeman
Haber

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